As a certified physical therapist I advocate movement and exercise for everyone, and that includes seniors. One of the priorities I set for my home aides is to encourage seniors to move during the day. It helps with heart health and even improves mental health.
Now there is evidence from a study called REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) that found that regular, moderately vigorous exercise, enough to break a sweat, was linked to reduced risk of stroke. Part of the protective effect was due to lower rates of known stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking.
The study looked at over 30,000 participants that supplied their medical history over the phone. The researchers also visited them to obtain health measures such as body mass index and blood pressure.
“Epidemiological studies such as REGARDS provide an important opportunity to explore race, genetics, environmental, and lifestyle choices as stroke risk factors,” Claudia Moy, Ph.D., program director at NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).
A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked. As a result, nearby brain cells will die after not getting enough oxygen and other nutrients.
If your loved one has high blood pressure and might be a stroke risk, ask your health care team if exercise might be a good idea. We can help create a plan that is customized to the needs and capabilities of a senior.
Richard Ueberfluss, PT